The decade's most triggering comedy
A grand jury voted not to indict Williams, a 20-year-old from Queens who claimed he was acting in self-defense, on manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon charges in connection to the June 13 encounter that left Devictor Ouedraogo dead.
“Our office conducted an impartial and thorough investigation of this tragic case, which included review of multiple videos and interviews with all available witnesses, and that evidence was fairly presented to a grand jury,” a spokesperson for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday. “Today, the charges against Jordan Williams have been dismissed.”
The spokesperson added: “Under New York law, a person is justified in using deadly physical force when they reasonably believe it is necessary to use such force to defend themselves or others from imminent use of deadly or unlawful physical force.”
Jason Goldman, a lawyer representing Williams, had said the “victim was menacing people, as all of us have probably seen on the subway, erratic, deranged, crazy and in many people’s faces before he even encounters my client,” per CBS News.
Ouedraogo, identified as a 36-year-old homeless man with a criminal record, allegedly told riders on the subway car he was going to “erase someone” and asked Williams’s girlfriend, “Want to f***?”, The New York Post reported.
A confrontation between Ouedraogo and Williams ensued in which witnesses said Ouedraogo threw the first punch, a law enforcement source told The New York Times.
Sources told The New York Post that video footage presented to the grand jury allegedly showed Ouedraogo choking Williams and striking Williams’s girlfriend in the face.
The clash allegedly came to an end after Williams pulled out a knife and stabbed Ouedraogo.
After police responded to a 911 call and found Ouedraogo at a train station, Ouedraogo was transported to the hospital with a chest stab wound and pronounced dead. Williams was taken into custody a few stops away and later released without bail.
“I was scared in that situation,” Williams said after the grand jury declined to indict him, according to NBC New York. “I’m happy that I can get on with my life the way I’d like to.”
Ouedraogo’s younger sister Marina said she believes the dismissal was “just wrong,” The New York Times reported. “It is sending a signal that basically any one of us can carry a weapon. That is basically what we are saying here.”
The fatal altercation followed another deadly New York City subway incident in which Marine veteran Daniel Penny used a headlock restraint on Jordan Neely, a homeless man who allegedly shouted and threatened passengers, before Neely passed out and died.